The news stunned you. Divorce. Although you sensed things in your marriage had been on a downward spiral the past five months, you did not expect your spouse to suddenly turn his key.
He wanted out, using the phrase “keep our distance.” You missed the signs, and there were many of them. However, it is too late now to reflect. Now what do you do? Plenty of things. It is time to take specific steps to protect yourself as you steer into a new direction of being a divorced person and a divorced parent.
Take care of yourself and children
Here are some of the key matters to address after learning your spouse wants a divorce:
- Seek support: This may include reaching out to family and friends as well as talking with a therapist. You may even consider attending a divorce focus group if you feel comfortable in such a setting.
- Focus extra attention on your children: With children, a divorce proves much more complicated. Divorce may deeply affect the children, so always put their feelings, thoughts and needs ahead of yours. Do not criticize the children’s other parent in front of them. They will remember this because they understand more than you think. And continue to love them unconditionally.
- Take care of your physical and emotional health: Granted you are going through a difficult time as anger, sadness and confusion bubble to the top. Try to clear your head and focus on what is at hand. Exercise, too. Walk, play tennis, lift weights but just do anything involving a physical activity. Even yardwork and gardening may help.
- Turn to professionals for financial and legal advice: Financial advisers and attorneys who specialize in divorce may prove to be significant allies. You will need to understand things such as budgeting and investing as a newly single person, and a financial advisor can help. An attorney can help you address topics such as child support, parenting plans and division of assets as well as potential divorce strategies, including collaborative divorce and mediation.
Take a few deep breaths and understand that you have an important journey ahead of you. Along the way, you may be able to figure out things by yourself, however, in certain situations, you likely need some guidance as to the right direction to take. Take care of yourself and do not be afraid to seek assistance.